South of Market (SoMa): It's Where the Foodie Gems Are Hidden

Although SoMa, or "South of Market," is very popular with the tech crowd and local foodies, it still retains that quaint, village eatery feel that you might find in the countryside.  SoMa is constantly transforming itself, so it has to be constantly rediscovered, which means its fan base will ebb and flow with its highs and lows.

Unlike the pasta joints piled on each other all the way up Columbus Avenue, or the dimsum nooks crammed one after another in Chinatown, restaurants in SoMa are spread apart, so diners will need to walk a few blocks to find that perfect place. Unlike North Beach and Chinatown, though, Soma is relatively flat, and you'll be rewarded on your journey with tranquil views of the San Francisco Bay. Enjoy the space and the walk; it;s the closest the city gets to wide open spaces.

Although SoMa is constantly reinventing itself, one thing remains constant: a youthful, vigorous, 21st century commitment to local and sustainable food practices. Whether it's the full-tilt commitment of Source that offers filtered air or the neighborly-minded activism of NOPA, almost all the restaurants in this region feature cuisine with a conscience. If you're ready to tour San Francisco's village in the city, pick a favorite off our list below, knock the dust off those walking shoes, and enjoy your visit to SoMa.



With all the fuss about the French and the Italians and their romantic ways, we shouldn't forget that the Greeks have been in the business of pairing food and love since ancient times. One of the most enchanting dinner destinations in the city,...  Read More



If you value food over atmosphere in your dining experience, then HRD Coffee Shop might be the place for you. The location itself is as imaginative as its name, but the food is a daring and delightful mix of Chinese, American, Korean and Mexican...  Read More



With experienced Executive Chef Nancy Oakes at the helm, Prospect has stayed at the top of "Best Of" San Francisco restaurant lists. The restaurant stays aware of the latest trends but keeps deeply rooted in what made them great in their first...  Read More



The Butler and the Chef has three simple but lovely food principles: mix the best local ingredients with some quality French imports; use only organic bread, pastry and milk products; and offer expertly made French and American beverages. That...  Read More



The stylish and intelligent atmosphere of Marlowe comes directly from its stylish and intelligent owner, New Zealand native Anna Weinberg, and Executive Chef Jennifer Puccio. Weinberg has owned several successful restaurants before, including...  Read More



Although it's first and foremost a winebar, District's expertise in nibbles and smaller plates actually makes it a fine option for dinner, too. From cold plates of hand cut steak tartare (violet mustard, fried quail egg & gruyere toasted...  Read More



Volta, which means "turning point" in Latin, is the latest creation from San Francisco's dynamic dining duo of Chef Staffan Terje and owner Umberto Gibin. Terje and Gibin have operated Perbacco and Barbacco, two successful Italian restaurants in...  Read More



The magnificence of Benu begins with James Beard award-winning chef and owner Corey Lee. The best example of how seriously this Asian/American fusion restaurant takes its food is the fact Lee spent over a year just planning the idea of his...  Read More



Led by Executive Chef Joshua Skenes, Saison doesn't just follow the foodie trend in SoMa - it has helped establish and maintain it for several years. The principles of local and simply made food aren't just printed on the menu and the website;...  Read More



Nopa defies categorization as either old or new because it has some of both. Although it's only been around since 2006, chef Laurence Jossel worked at several traditional and popular restaurants before Nopa and brings professionalism and...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom